Strange as it may seem to us on the outside, but the latest fad sweeping through the boardrooms of the Premier League appears to be the practice of unexpectedly sacking otherwise comfortable managers that have done absolutely nothing wrong then, to put the icing on the proverbial dog turd, you publicly cite ‘shifting club ambitions’ for the given individual’s dismissal.
This executive-level pastime probably already has a cliquey name (‘flash canning’?) that we unilluminati are not privy to just yet, but what is clear is that both Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers are suddenly world beaters at something for the first time in a long time.
Yesterday Blackburn’s new owners, Indian poultry magnates Venkys, indulged themselves with a textbook spot of ‘flash-canning’ and systematically freed up former incumbent Sam Allardyce‘s Christmas for him in the process.
Whilst the decision to sack Allardyce seemingly came screaming from the clear blue ether, it would appear that a long(ish)-standing disagreement with Venkys’ chairwoman Anurahda J Desia over the club’s restructured transfer policy may have played a considerable role in his recent demise.
The Indian conglomerate were apparently determined that Blackburn are to employ leading European sports agency Kentaro (the firm that effectively purchased Elano, Martin Petrov, Vedran Corluka and Geovanni on behalf of ex-Manchester City president Thaskin Shinawatra a few years back) as ‘middle-men’ to assist in the recruitment of new players, whereas Allardyce – being a stickler for football’s golden yesteryear – was adamant that any transfer dealings should be precipitated on his say-so.
Allardyce was hoping to bring in household Premier League names such as former Rovers’ target man Roque Santa Cruz, Villa’s unmotivated powerhouse John Carew and unsettled Spurs wastrel Robbie Keane but unfortunately, and rather critically for him, their respective fees and wages were far beyond Venkys’ pre-agreed January budget of £5 million.
To the outsider looking in, it looks like ‘Big Sam’ may have been sacked for showing too much darned ambition after restoring Blackburn to mid-table obscurity from the Paul Ince-instigated relegation-flirting doldrums of two years ago.
Any road up, Venkys are now charged with the task of finding a replacement for the outgoing Allardyce and naturally the national press are busy churning out reams of potential candidates to step into the big man’s considerable void.
This morning’s Daily Mirror is running with a report that is carrying word on the aftermath of Allardyce’s sacking, claiming that ‘Big Sam’ now stands to receive a hefty £1.5 million windfall as a result of his untimely dismissal – with £1 million’s worth of contract left to pay up, and a £500,000 ‘survival bonus’ also heading his way if Rovers avoid the drop come the end of the season.
Should the prospective payments materialise, Allardyce will have earned just over £6 million in just under two years using the tried and trusted ‘Sven Technique’, i.e. getting yourself repeatedly fired and living comfortably on the hefty contractual reimbursements that duly head your way.
Anyway, I digress. Everything is simmering along rather prosaically in the Mirror’s report, that is until things suddenly take an unexpected turn for the completely stark-raving insane!
The paper’s idiosyncratic twist on the goings-on at Ewood Park is an insistence that Venkys are now squirreling away behind the scenes, busying themselves by making the necessary arrangements that will see haywire Argentinian madcap Diego Maradona step into the club’s vacant hotseat.
There are even direct quotes from a genuine ‘Indian insider’:
“Maradona is seen as the right profile for the VH Group. He could be offered the manager’s job, the general manager’s job or even technical director.”
Can you just imagine? Stoic Mick McCarthy getting his backside goosed twice a season; the parochial Ian Holloway getting ‘out-crazied’ at every turn; Sir Alex Ferguson being offered a line of Colombia’s finest marching dust in return for his customary bottle of vintage Chataeuneuf du Pape? ‘El Diego’ offering to swap trousers with the fourth official for absolutely no reason other than to seal their everlasting friendship?
It may just be weapons-grade tabloid baloney, but please, please, please dearest Jesus, Allah and Buddha combined – let this happen!